Kicked off with a quick visit to Grove Park to see if any more Wheatears knocking about. There wasn't, but a shrill piping demanded attention and there was very welcome LRP. Only saw the one, but ironically it was loitering about immediately next to the building works. Looks like the works are fenced off so that the main part of the 'scrape' is still free of any activity. Click for big and search for the piping plover ...
This smart Song Thrush was wondering what the piping was aswell.
Aside from a few Linnets, nothing else of note so I headed over to Huncote Embankment again in the hope of a few Wheatears or better. In reality I knew that the clear skies and rapidly warming temperature meant that there would be no Wheatears but I went ahead anyway. Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs very highly vocal all around the site, with a nice Peregrine, drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, yaffling Green Woodpecker, singing Reed Buntings and a smart Whitethroat adding to the summery sound. I had a good walk around the whole site, enjoying the early sunshine and relative lack of people. Amazing how peaceful a scrubby man-made embankment adjacent to a huge man-made hole in the ground can be.
Gorse flowering everywhere
Intact reedmace - no Limnaecia phragmitella?
This is exactly the type of flower I can't remember or ID with confidence. Could it be Winter-cress? Help!
I arrived home in time for a late breakfast, overdue cuppa and got to work assembling a big high-level bed thing with a futon underneath for Josh. A damned site more effort required than the usual self-assembly I can assure you.
Once that was done I was out again. I headed over to Charnwood Lodge complete with all the necessary kit:
butterfly net - check
big pots - check
plastic tub with some netting over the top - check
warm sunshine - check
habitat with necessary foodplants - check
x2 virgin females - check
It was going to be so easy, turn up, whip out the virgins and sweep the net through swarms of male Emperors. That was the plan anyway, the reality was yet another blank assembling session. Lost count of the number of times/sites I've failed with Emperor assembling.
All was not lost though, as I had a thoroughly enjoyable time walking around Charnwood Lodge without the longhorn cattle roaming about. A singing Cuckoo was highly vocal but remained unseen, and amazingly Green Hairstreaks were out in reasonable numbers already ..
This one helpfully settled on a dry-stone wall.
I had a look at Colony Reservoir aswell - all the times I've been to Charnwood Lodge and I'd never bothered before. It is small and has a real ancient/prehistoric feel somehow, with the plentiful Water Horse-tails poking through the water.
Before heading home, I dropped into the Alter Stones/Blacksmiths Field in Markfield for one last go with the virgins. No luck with those, but as I had my net handy I nonchalontly swiped at a small micro and ended up with a British Tick - an early Heliozela sericiella. Very tiny, will have a go at phtographing tomorrow.
There's a few scenery photos on Flickr from Huncote Embankment and Charnwood Lodge. The moth traps were still low on numbers last night - I'll summarise all of the recent nights tomorrow.